Can you recommend a Nordic setup for groomed and off-trail conditions?

I'm fairly new to cross-country skiing but find I really like it, so I'd like your recommendation for skis, bindings, and boots good for both groomed trails and off track. I'm six-foot-two in excellent condition. Maybe the 189-centimeter Fischer Rebound Crowns? Jes Seattle, Washington

Mar 14, 2006
Outside Magazine

XCD Pinnacle

A: That's a tough question, actually, because the demands of groomed trails and backcountry (assuming that is what you mean by off track) skiing are so very different. But I will say this: Skis designed for groomed trails aren't worth squat when off-trail, whereas off-trail skis will at least work on groomers, if not spectacularly well.

Which brings us to the skis you mention, the Fischer Rebound Crowns ($260; www.fischerskis.com). They're a very nice ski, with a generous sidecut to help in the turns, and a patterned bottom so you don't have to fuss over wax. You can put them on and go most anywhere. But, they're really going to be happiest off-trail. You might find them too wide for tracks. They're excellent skis, however.

Take a look as well at Karhu's XCD Pinnacle ($229; www.karhu.com). These are, like the Fischers, a waxless ski with metal edges and a backcountry-friendly cut. But they're also a little narrower than the Rebound Crowns, and can be skied reasonably effectively on groomed trails.

You ought to be able to find either of these skis on sale now with stores closing out their winter stock. So that will save you some money. Also, it would be great if you could rent some skis of this type and try them out to see what works best.

As for boots, the Alpina Sierra 75 ($150; www.alpinasports.com) would be a reliable choice. It's more of a backcountry boot than a groomed-course boot, but it's comfortable, warm, and flexible enough to manage a ski track, while offering the support you need to manage ungroomed snow. Salomon's X-Adventure 7 ($180; www.salomonsports.com) would also work well, and has a bit more heft than the Alpinas. With the Salomon, you'd need to use Salomon SNS BC bindings ($80). The Alpinas use traditional three-pin bindings, which go for $15 or so.

Get more skiing inspiration in Outside Online's Ski Gear Buying Guide.

Filed To: Skis

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